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  • The ending of the Halo: CE. Everyone aside from Chief and Cortana (and, First Strike reveals, a few other UNSC personnel) die when the Pillar of Autumn explodes. Chief just sits there quietly and Cortana tries to convince both of them that they had no other option.

Chief: Did anyone else make it?
Cortana: Scanning... Just...dust and echoes. We're all that's left.

  • In Halo 3, the deaths of Commander Keyes and Sergeant Johnson. The sad music during both scenes didn't help matters.
    • Greatest Journey (the part played during Sarge's death) = the series' Crowning Music Of Sadness.
    • This troper was playing the game for the first time co-op, and we reached the death of Commander Keyes. Not only did I see my linebacker of a hulking huge brother get teary-eyed, I saw him get angry with a video game. His exact words were "I'm going to slaughter your entire fucking species", said in an very dangerous low growl.
      • This scene is particularly gut-wrenching because it seemed to be working up to an entirely different tear-jerker - Miranda aims the gun at Johnson's head, and Johnson calmly tells her she has to shoot him and then herself. Doubt crosses Miranda's face, and she lowers the gun, before Johnson barks "Now!" and she straightens up again... every indication points towards Johnson dying at Key's hand. Cue the sound of Spiker fire, Miranda's shocked expression as she sinks to the floor and Johnson desperately trying to reach her as a Brute holds him back.
        • At least Johnson had a proper funerary scene. "Send me out with a bang". Miranda doesn't get to say any last words.
    • Keyes was one of the UNSC's best, a brilliant tactician and damn fine commander to boot. Every time you see him, you can tell that he's the kind of commander who can inspire the men serving under him to their fullest potential. And not only does he die an ignoble and terrible death, but it's absolutely horrifying--his body slowly mutilated and his consciousness erased by the Flood. The novelization details how he can feel each memory and thought of his own slowly being stripped away, his identity draining away like sand in a sieve. It doesn't help that Chief has to immediately take the neural chips and keep going....
      • The Anniversary edition has a terminal that shows Keyes fighting the Flood, with metaphorical tooth and nail, to keep them from taking everything. He keeps repeating his name and service number over and over, while bit by bit, his memories are stripped away and consumed. The real heartwrencher is when he remembers Miranda, and tries clinging to her memory.
    • Not to mention the ending where, 'Hard to believe he's dead.Were it so easy. At least until the next ending where you find out he's alive.
      • The above moment is compounded by Tribute, one of the most terjerking ending pieces I have ever heard.
      • "Wake me....when you need me."
      • What really got this troper was the war memorial with a little "117" handwritten on it in honor of John. Even knowing that he survives doesn't diminish the impact of it.
      • What makes the above even worse is that Spartans are not allowed to be listed as killed in action, so that is the only memorial of his passing that'll be allowed... Sure he isn't really dead but still.
      • And what's worse is that what Cortana may wake him up for is her last few minutes of life.
        • Cortana will never really die, per se, she'll just go into rampancy. What's really sad is if anyone who has looked around in Halopedia sees a timeline that shows in 2556, Cortana, who is all by herself, drifting away in space with a frozen Chief in half of Forward Under Dawn, showing clear signs of rampancy, files a report on the history of the Forerunner and humanity. It's almost a Fridge Horror moment, too.
    • The song "Dust and Echoes", and its H3 counterpart "Wake Me When You Need Me".
    • The track "Black Tower", which features a tear-jerking choral version of the first movement of "High Charity Suite". Reminds me of the Arnhem Knights level of Medal of Honor: Frontline. As I thought, this is the music played during Miranda's death scene.
    • The credits music of Halo 2, with its weeping Hawaiian-style guitar.
    • Halo ODST appears to have this going (though we won't know for sure until the game comes out) thanks to New Mombasa. Think about it, its Earth, its Africa, our birthplace, our cradle, our one place of sanctity in a cruel universe... and now its empty.
      • Sadie's goodbye to Virgil as the subway train makes its way out of New Mombasa.

Sadie: Vergil! You're all I have left of this place!
Superintendent: (as Dr. Endesha) 'Sadie -- Sadie -- Sadie -- Sadie!'
Superintendent: (as Dr. Endesha) 'Sadie, sweetheart... You make me so very, very proud.'
Sadie: You're all I have left of him...

    • Ghosts of Oynx: Kurt seeing all the Spartans who have died before him, and giving him the can-do sign, just to give him the strength to say this final line" Die? Don't you know? Spartans never die." It just breaks this tropers heart, reading how he sees all the friends he made who have died, and this is while he's dying too!
    • The post-credits cinematic of Halo: Reach, a shot of Noble Six's broken helmet, first showing shortly after his death, but then switching to 37 years in the future, showing the now-rusted helmet surrounded by greenery and life, showing that Reach managed to recover, while Dr. Halsey narrates how Six's sacrifice enabled humanity to survive.
    • Hell, most of the final mission can feel like that. You've watched as the squad you got to know get killed one by one untill it's just you left, then when your only chance to escape Reach comes you refuse to take it, to ensure your final mission will be complete. You know you will die but don't know just how much your sacrifice will contribute to the war, dammit Noble 6, I didn't want you to die...
    • Remember Reach. Remember Reach. It doesn't help that the poignant music playing in the background is called "Ghosts of Reach." Memorials are always tear jerkers...
  • Foehammer. For all those missions, she's one of the very few UNSC ally that isn't replaceable, that isn't just a generic soldier running to his death (and getting in your way, no less). As often as she can be, she's there to cover your back by picking up survivors, dropping off a warthog or guiding you towards an objective, and all the while with her heartening voice, full of vitality and upbeat humor. And then you watch her die while coming to your rescue, and there's nothing you can do. Even Cortana chokes up.
  • In the last level of Halo: Reach, the brief conversation Six and Captain Keyes have after Six delivers Cortana:

Keyes: Good to see you, spartan. Halsey assured me I could count on you.
Six: Not just me, sir.
Keyes: They'll be remembered.

  • This troper, a long time fan of Halo who witnessed Foehammer, Johnson, and Miranda's deaths without even flinching, tried his hardest not to cry Manly Tears after hearing that. He failed miserably. Emile's death afterwords REALLY didn't help.

Trooper: Lieutenant! Get aboard, we've gotta get out of here!
Six: Negative. I have the gun. Good luck, sir.
Keyes: (with a look on his face that perfectly conveys just how sick he is of this war forcing so many heroes to go to their deaths in ever more desperate attempts to save humanity) And good luck to you, Spartan... (turns away)

  • Never Forget. Just the song. It's one of the most heart-wrenchingly beautiful songs ever composed, and conveys more emotion than words could ever hope to. And it fits the simple, peaceful main menu animation of Halo 3 so damn well... it makes this troper tear up every time he hears it.
  • From Fall Of Reach: the sacrifice of the Cradle.
  • The last part of Exodus in Reach, where as you're flying through the city in a Falcon taking potshots at Covenant, you hear a lot of radio traffic between the evacuating ships and UNSC dispatchers, the general gist of it being that there's way too much going on for the defending human forces to handle. This eventually culminates in one ship trying to take off without clearance. They then get shot down, nose-diving into the bay. A question of whether they should search for survivors is only met with "There's no point."
  • Halo Reach has Jorge's death scene.
  • Not from the games but the expanded background; spend some time on Halopedia reading about the fate of the Forerunners in the war against the Flood. It is, for the most part, heartbreaking stuff. Science fiction is littered with tales of massive interstellar wars with insane casualties on both sides. What makes this one stand out is that the ultimate victory that the good guys achieve is bought at the cost of their entire race. Only a few, relatively small chunks of their civilization and history are left behind, along with their legacy in the form of humanity.
  • The ending cutscene of "New Alexandria" in Halo Reach. While Kat's death by itself isn't terribly sad, what happens after that is: forlorn piano music plays, Noble Six fires helplessly at the Covenant sniper, and Noble Six drags Kat's corpse into the bunker, the door brushing Kat's limp foot as it closes. In total darkness, the piano music continues as the subtitles imply a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming in the background. The music switches into a painfully beautiful orchestral piece as you see Noble Team emerge into the burning ruins of New Alexandria - Kat's corpse in Carter's arms. As they slowly light a flare for a Pelican, the music climaxes into a mixture of sadness and hopefulness. Bonus points for incredible camerawork.
  • The entire story of the Didact and the Librarian. Possibly (in this troper's opinion) one of the greatest video game love stories yet told, they were literal Star-Crossed Lovers. First, the Didact, in his youth, was forced to undergo a "brevet mutation", which would basically be the equivalent to going through all of puberty's worst in one stressful chunk of time before you're ready. Then, after they're married (a bond unique among their species since it was based upon their love for one another instead of political or social reasons), all twelve of his children were killed in battle with humans. Then, after a political failure in halting the construction of the titular Halos, he is forced into meditative, unconscious exile for thousands of years. When he's released, he's promptly captured by his enemies, his war spinxes (which contain faint imprints of his childrens' personalities) are torn apart, and he himself is executed. Luckily, he is technically reincarnated in a young Forerunner named Bornstellar, and he gets to spend a small, happy stretch of time reunited with his wife. Then, the Flood become a problem and she goes out to finish cataloging sentient life. For three hundred years she operates behind enemy lines, while the Didact uses every opportunity of communication to plead with her to return to safety with him. She refuses, and is finally trapped at earth. She sends one last message to the Didact, telling him that her work is finished, and that, for the sake of the galaxy, he must activate the Halos, killing her in the process. He then sends her this message:

It's over. We're activating the [destructive arrayed matrix], our shameful last resort.I can picture you in your garden, surveying all you have created- surveying all you have preserved. And I curse the circumstance that keeps my finger on the trigger. Of all the fates to befall us, this is the cruelest of all. My inaction and hesitation and foolishness kept me here, on the wrong side of the line. And [300 years[?]] of our society's failure and miscalculation makes me your executioner.
It's too much to bear.
Mendicant Bias is trying to prevent us from firing the Array. He speeds back to the Ark, but he won't succeed. Offensive Bias will stop him, and I will burn this stinking menace in your name.
And then?
I will begin our Great Journey without you, carrying this bitter record. Those who came after will know what we bought with this [false transcendence] - what you bought, and the price you paid.

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